Field Trip :: Gehry's Stata Center

By: Curtis Robinson, BArch Candidate

The name Frank Gehry either makes you happy or it makes you cringe, or for someone like myself - my feelings on him depend on the day. Most of Gehry's more successful buildings both in function and atheistic are unfortunately not within walking distance of school. However, we are lucky (or unlucky) to have a Gehry design right across the river from us, over in Cambridge at MIT.  

The Ray and Maria Stata Center opened in 2004 and within its 720,000 square feet of space, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Library are housed. Visitors are allowed to walk all around, and through the exterior spaces as well as stroll through the inside public areas of the building.  

I first walked around the dramatic creation in 2007 and didn't have much of an opinion on it at the time. I thought the interior spaces that were created through different shapes being combined was pretty cool. However, when I went on a return visit the following year I realized how there were many unusable and quite awkward spaces due to the odd shapes that the building is formed from. The weaving staircases and walkways throughout the public halls do add some interest to the oversized scale of the building though.  

I'm still not sure where I stand on the subject of liking, or disliking the building- there are definitely positives and negatives, but something in me says the negatives outweigh the positives.   

Find out for yourself. Go and check out the Stata Center which is located at 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02139